William Burn (1789-1870)

William Burn was a Scottish architect, who built in many styles and was a pioneer of the Scottish Baronial Revival. A talented architect, he received major commissions from the age of 20 until his death at 81.

After training with the architect Sir Robert Smirke, designer of the British Museum, he returned to Edinburgh in 1812. Here he established a practice from the family builders’ yard. In 1841, he took on a pupil, David Bryce, with whom he later went into partnership. From 1844 he worked in London, where he took on his nephew John Macvicar Anderson as a partner. In 1827 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, unusual for an architect, his proposer being James Skene. He resigned in 1845 following his move to London.

Burn was a master of many styles, but all are typified by well-proportioned simplicity externally and frequent stunning interiors. He was a pioneer of the Scottish baronial Revival with Helen’s Tower (1848), Castlewellan Castle (1856), and Balintore Castle (1859).